Spain manager Luis de la Fuente insists he is not responsible for Gavi’s season-ending injury on international duty.
Barcelona midfielder Gavi suffered an ACL injury in his right knee when playing for Spain against Georgia on November 19. The 22-year-old player will miss the rest of the season and is set to miss the Euro 2024 next summer.
Barcelona fans and some in Spanish media have blamed Gavi’s injury on Luis de la Fuente for playing him.
‘Barcelona did not ask!’
In an interview with El Larguero podcast on La Ser, De la Fuente refused to take any responsibility for Gavi’s injury and also insisted that he always prioritizes a player’s health.
De La Fuente said: “Barca did not ask that Gavi not play the last game with Spain. Just as I don’t get involved in clubs, I don’t like it when they do it. We had the idea that the national team, just as when they leave they must focus on their clubs. We had the idea that he would play only 45 minutes in the second game.“
He continued: “We always prioritise the health of the footballer, and I have had performances that show it. All the players who come want to play every game and Gavi especially. He is gifted, so active that the day after the game against Cyprus, training, he wanted to exercise with a normal session instead of doing recovery.”
He added: “I asked him at half-time and he told me that in the first action there was nothing. The doctors did not notice instability in the knee and allowed him to continue playing. If we had seen an obvious injury or the player had warned us, it would not have lasted even half second on the field. The opinions of doctors? I haven’t listened to or read the media for a while, I live more calmly. Our doctors assure us after the first inning that the player could continue. Whoever says it was a formal match, no he tells the truth. We represent our country and it was a qualifying match. Nothing is given to anyone.”
Barcelona manager Xavi refused to blame De La Fuente for Gavi’s injury and instead blamed football’s hectic schedule.
De La Fuente said: “Xavi said that he had spoken to me, I conveyed our regret. It was an accident, football is a maximum risk activity, as happened with Yeremy Pino in training. Fatigue? All footballers want to play.”